• Divya Dhomne

A Guide on Types of Mask and Which one Should you use

Updated: Aug 5, 2020

A breakout of various diseases and more has seen an increase in the requirement of face masks due to the increased respiratory problems.

This makes it important to use certain types of masks to keep such problems at bay. Face masks act as a shield to fight problems such as seasonal flu, dust particles, various bacteria, and air pollution.

There are several masks available in the market but it is crucial to know which ones are meant for your concerns.

Surgical Masks

Also called face masks/ medical masks/ procedure masks, they are designed for health care professionals during surgery and nursing.

These masks protect professionals from the contamination in surgical fields or the patients by preventing the liquid droplets from entering the body. They block large-particles, droplets, splashes, sprays, or splatter that may contain germs. These can also be used to reduce the exposure of one's saliva and respiratory secretions to others. 

Depending on the thickness and ability of protection, surgical masks are of two major types:


These masks are made of three layers, an outer hydrophobic non-woven layer, a middle melt-blown layer, and an inner soft absorbent non-woven layer. The innermost layer used for absorbing moisture, the middle layer is a filter and the outermost layer repels water. The pleats allow the user to expand the mask from nose to chin as per the requirements. 


These are more powerful surgical masks with activated carbon filters. They consist of five filter layers that are ideal to protect your mouth and face from dust, haze, bacteria, virus, germs, allergies, smoke, pollution, ash, etc. They are easy to wear and stop pollutants from entering the respiratory tract.

Dust Masks

These masks mainly protect the wearer against non-toxic dust while mowing, gardening, sweeping, and dusting. They help in preventing the development of respiratory illnesses. They are effective in an environment where there is a risk of inhaling dangerous substances and one feels like coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, or other breathing difficulties. 


These masks are helpful in filtering contaminants from the air using cartridges, filters, or canisters. There are different types of respirators for different hazards such as dust, paint & odour, sanding & fibreglass, gas & vapours, and more. 

NIOSH has provided these respirators with some ratings according to their jobs:

R Ratings: Oil-Resistant 

R95 – Filters a minimum of 95% of airborne particles

N Ratings: Not Oil-Resistant

N95 – Filters a minimum of 95% of airborne particles

N99 – Filters a minimum of 99% of airborne particles

N100 – Filters a minimum of 99.7% of airborne particles

P Ratings: Oil-Proof

P95 – Filters a minimum of 95% of airborne particles

P99 – Filters a minimum of 99% of airborne particles

P100 – Filters a minimum of 99.7% of airborne particles

Among all of these respirators, N95 respirators are the most commonly used.


N-95 respirators are the best choice for painting jobs or dealing with dangerous chemicals, bacteria or doing tasks like sanding and woodworking. They help in removing contaminants from the air using cartridges, filters, or canisters.

According to the name, these masks are capable of blocking at least 95% of very small approx. 0.3 microns test particles.

The main features of N-95 respirators are:

  • Offers the best filtration and a very good fit

  • Are one of the most effective masks

  • Can filter 95% of particles

  • Have an excellent fit and create a seal around the face

These are several masks that are essential to safeguard yourself from respiratory problems. You can visit supplystreet.in for the best quality masks.

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